Illegal constructions galore along NH-44 in South Kashmir

Suhail Bhat

SRINAGAR, Aug 2: Despite ban on constructions along Srinagar- Jammu National Highway, large number of illegal structures including mult-storey shopping complexes have come up on newly constructed stretch of the highway between Qazigund and Sangam in South Kashmir. Click here to watch video
In order to prevent vandalizing of agriculture land, authorities recently banned construction work within 100 meters on either side of the new alignment of Srinagar- Jammu National Highway and declared it “no construction zone”. But, there seems to be no let up in the construction of structures as scores of shopping complexes and residential houses have come up on either side of it.
Ever since the newly constructed stretch of the highway was thrown open for the traffic, hundreds of shops and a few multistorey shopping complexes have come up in Qazigund. Places like Wanpov and Sangam are most affected as there are massive violations in this portion of the highway. Besides, several makeshift tea stalls and Dabas have also been constructed at different places.
The illegal structures have come up near Highways, on agricultural land and in violations of Land Revenue Act and Jammu and Kashmir High Court directions. The Ribbon Development Act is also being violated as the required distance on either side of the highway is not maintained.
The locals of several areas alleged that the authorities have demolished the structures of only common people while as the influential persons were given a free run. “Whenever anyone raises a tin shed, the authorities demolish it but the huge shopping complexes are being constructed right but no one touches them”, said a local.
Aimed at decongesting the towns and to lessen the burden of traffic on main Highway, the Government decided to construct alternative Bypass- at various places from Qazigund to Nowgam.  The 30-kilometer Qazigund-Sangam Bypass touches nearly 40 villages of Anantnag district and passes through the picturesque rural areas but the beauty of the area is being ravaged by the illegal constructions.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Mohammad Younis, when contacted said that almost all the illegal structures have been demolished and the local administration was strictly dealing with the violators. “We have demolished all the structures that were illegally raised. But some people raise tin sheds overnight and for that demolition, drives are carried regularly. We will not tolerate any violations,” he said.